Bricknells Letting Agents

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Bricknells Letting Agents's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Bricknells Letting Agents is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director DawnHolmes
Staff training is so important
Operating across South Yorkshire, Bricknells Rentals are an
independent residential letting agency. As members of the
Association of Residential Letting Agents and the Property
Ombudsman, they are committed to seeing regulation enforced
and both tenants and landlords behaving responsibly. Managing
Director Dawn Holmes discusses the growing importance of and
reliance on the private rented sector and how councils could
benefit from working with responsible letting agents.
We are an independent residential letting agent based in Wickersley, Rotherham.
We manage residential properties in South Yorkshire, across Sheffield, Barnsley,
Doncaster and Rotherham. We started trading in 2000; over the years, we have
seen real changes in the residential letting industry, with over 150 pieces of
legislation having been introduced.
As new rules and regulations are introduced, we have to react. We have systemised
our service by documenting our policies and procedures. We continue to educate
and train our staff in these new regulations, and we have embraced social media.
However, this must be a continuous process to ensure that we remain a competent
and professional letting agent and that all of our landlords are compliant with
current law.
We are also members of two professional industry organisations: the Association of
Residential Letting Agents and the Property Ombudsman. It has taken us many years
to gain the valuable experience needed to successfully operate in the residential letting
market. We offer a professional service with a focus on customer care, something
that is recognised by clients and local councils alike. Many hours of staff training and
»Managing Director:
»Established in 2000 as
Rotherham Rentals; trading as
Bricknells Rentals since 2004
»Based in Rotherham, South
»Services: Residential lettings
with property acquisition
»No. of employees: 12
»715 properties under
Bricknells Letting
Highlighting best practice
continuing professional development
are spent each year to stay ahead of
the exponential rise inregulation.
The growing importance of
the private rented sector
The English housing survey estimates
that the private rented sector accounts
for 4.7 million or 20 per cent of all
households in the country, with
landlords themselves managing
an estimated 40 to 45 per cent of
Because of a number of factors,
including immigration, increased life
expectancy and more single households,
we need to build 240,000 households
at the right prices and in the right
locations to equal demand. Unless the
government spends billions on acquiring
land and building council housing,
demand will continue to outstrip supply.
Consequently, we anticipate demand
for rented properties will continue
to grow, as the younger generation
see renting as a more viable choice,
giving them flexibility, affordability
and options that being tied to a house
cannot give. As such, the PRS is going
to play a big part in providing safe and
affordable housing that meets tenants’
aspirations well into the future.
In the main, landlords are investors and
look to achieve profit on investment
capital in return for their risk. Make
it too difficult or tax them too heavily
and landlords will look to exit the
market and invest elsewhere. Those
that stay in the PRS may seek to
manage properties themselves in order
to maintain profitability. Unless they
self-educate or use the resources of
professional organisations such as the
Residential Landlords Association or
the National Landlords Association,
they risk falling foul of the regulations,
which could ultimately result in a fine,
prosecution or even prison.
We are not suggesting that all
properties should be managed by
letting agents, as there are very
many competent, self-managing
landlords. However, letting agents do
provide that personal connection to
ensure that the tenancy is managed
in a professional manner and, more
importantly, managed in accordance
with the correct legislation.
If the demand for private rented
housing is going to increase, and for
the PRS to play its part, there must be
encouragement for good landlords
to remain in the sector and new ones
The need to enforce compliance
Education and development play a
large part in ensuring that competent
landlords are active within the sector.
Membership of a landlord redress
scheme, soon to be required by the
government, should be earned through
providing evidence, rather than just a
membership fee. For the scheme to be
effective, it should have the power to
enforce compliance with regulations.
While there is pressure for landlords to
operate within a regulated framework,
it is equally important that tenants rent
responsibly. Each tenant has individual
aspirations, and, as letting agents,
we have a duty of care to the tenant.
We are able to guide them through
A barn conversion
in Sheffield that we
The PRS is
going to play
a big part in
providing safe
and affordable
well into the
future and we
look forward
to being part
of this
the letting process, ensuring that they
receive the contracted service and
tenancy. Importantly, we fully manage
the tenancy, includingmaintenance.
While we do everything we can to
help to build a strong relationship
between landlord and tenant, not all
relationships go quite so smoothly.
There are instances where tenants do
breach their tenancies, particularly
in respect of ongoing rent arrears. In
this scenario, the key for landlords is a
prompt resolution. Currently, landlords
can wait an average of 22 weeks to
gain possession through the courts,
which is both costly and frustrating.
If letting agents are to play a proactive
part in providing a professional and
excellent service to the PRS, costs of
training and development will need
to be apportioned to keep pace
The tenant fee ban will assist tenants
in securing tenancies but will force
letting agents to reassess their charges
and identify what services they are
providing for free. Loss of income
and increased charges are likely to be
recovered from increased rents and
the possibility that some landlords may
Improving standards across
the industry
To complement increased enforcement
through landlord redress schemes
and to maintain high standards
within the industry, councils could
develop a register of “approved and
responsible agents” to work with in
order to improve standards within
the housing stock. Inclusion on
such a register would be based on
evidenced membership of recognised
professional bodies, together with the
local authorities carrying out proactive
inspections of the services provided.
Like the majority of letting agents in
the country, we are passionate about
our industry. We welcome measured
and well-thought-out legislation,
provided it is consistently enforced. The
industry, letting agents in particular,
needs to collaborate with both national
and local government, as professional
letting agents are an integral
component in mending a broken
housing market. We will continue to
work with local government and other
agencies to share best practice and to
ensure that housing stock in our area
of South Yorkshire is improved for the
benefit of landlords and tenants alike.
We are
about our
industry and
we strive to be
Our team

This article was sponsored by Bricknells Letting Agents. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster